Not since the 1959 genocide dubbed the “HUTU REVOLUTION” has there been a period when the UNHCR declared that conditions for all Rwandan refugees to go home were right.
Seventeen years after the genocide against the Tutsi that moment has come, and it is noteworthy.
The UNHCR has announced the “Invocation of Cessation Clause for Rwandan Refugees.” What does this mean for the 100,000 officially registered refugees outside Rwanda? It simply means that this world body has recognised that conditions in Rwanda are stable, and there is no justifiable reason for any Rwandan to claim refugee status.
Of course Rwanda’s enemies will find all sorts of empty and spurious arguments to cut down this historic and welcome achievement as they languish in their self-imposed exiles. Let them.
But Rwanda has truly done well in making conditions such as they are that no Rwandan can say they are stateless, or are afraid to return home.
I am not able to name any other country, in Africa or elsewhere, where after a genocide or extended civil war, the UNHCR made such a pronouncement. And in Rwanda’s case, a mere seventeen years, much as a segment of Rwandans were rendered stateless for well over 34 years.
This is yet another proof that reconciliation is working, and the road to national renewal is lit with hope.